Giants 24, Patriots 20: Thrilling Finish Again

You get the feeling the Giants like to live on the edge. It makes the losses hard to take, but it makes victories like the one they just experienced in Foxboro, a 24-20 upset, that much sweeter as well. The lead changed hands four times in the fourth quarter, but just like in the Super Bowl four seasons ago, the Patriots scored and then left too much time on the clock for Giants' quarterback Eli Manning, who knew that a field goal to tie on the road and overtime may have been too risky to overcome. So Manning, aided by a spectacular catch from Jake Ballard and a pass interference call in the end zone on Victor Cruz, led his team to the go-ahead score with just 15 seconds on the clock, not nearly enough for Patriots' QB Tom Brady to win the game.

This game had a little bit of everything, and the Giants' defense made the Patriots look ordinary in the first half as the two teams battled to a scoreless tie. But Brady (340 yards, 2 TDs) threw two interceptions and the Patriots gave the ball away four times overall, while the Giants only turned it over twice. Manning (250 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) was not sacked at all, while Brady was sacked twice, once by Michael Boley and once by Jason Pierre-Paul.

Brandon Jacobs ran with authority in place of the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, carrying 18 times for 72 yards and a touchdown, and even caught 4 passes for another 28 yards. Victor Cruz led the Giants with six catches for 91 yards, while Mario Manningham and Ballard caught Manning's two touchdown throws. Ramses Barden, returning from an injury suffered last November, also got in on the action with two catches for 24 yards.

So now the Giants (6-2) have beaten the Patriots (5-3) in the Super Bowl to spoil a potentially perfect season; and on Sunday handed New England its first home loss in the regular season since 2008. The Giants will head out west for the next big test during this difficult stretch to face the 7-1 San Francisco 49ers. But it sure feels good knowing Big Blue will not have worse than a two-game division lead, and it feels even better knowing that we can still hang with some of the NFL's best teams.

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